Swedish tunnels completed on third attempt

Vinci and Skanska have celebrated finishing a tunnel that two other contracting teams had failed to complete.

It took 10 years and an investment of €850m to complete the two Hallandsås railway tunnels in southwestern Sweden, which were officially opened yesterday.

The project was initiated in 1970 but did not really get under way until 2004, following two failed attempts by other companies to build them. Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Skanska were the first to succeed in boring through a complex geological formation to construct two parallel tunnels, which have a length of nearly 5.5km and an internal diameter of about 9m.

The Hallandsås tunnels are part of the national refurbishment programme for the Malmö-Gothenburg railway line. Opening of the new line to traffic on 15 December will capacity from increase from four to 24 trains per day, reducing travel time for passengers as well as doubling the amount of freight that can be carried.

The project introduced one-of-a-kind environmental management measures. A broad-based ecological management programme was applied to protect water and the local ecology as a whole. The County Administrative Board, the environmental assessment group and the neighbouring Båstad and Ängelholm municipalities also continuously monitored construction.